The Anaheim Ducks were not able to celebrate their impressive victory against the Philadelphia Flyers for very long after they received unpleasant news regarding their best blue-liner Cam Fowler. The Ducks announced that Fowler suffered a sprained knee in last night’s contest and has been placed on the injured reserve list.
A timetable for Fowler’s recovery will not be determined until later this week after further tests are done. The 24-year-old’s return may be unknown but nobody can argue that his presence on the ice will be missed no matter how long he is sidelined.
On team suffering from a shortage of offense this season, the Ducks have had to rely solely on its strong play defensively. Although the unit as whole has been quite shaky for most of the 34 games played this season, Fowler has had a solid outing to this point. In his sixth season with Anaheim, number-four has turned into a leader on the Ducks blue-line. In addition he was contributing offensively with three goals and nine assists.
With the loss of Fowler and Simon Despres’s return still uncertain, the Ducks are in an extremely tough spot defensively. They still have the very talented Sami Vatanen but a defensive unit cannot be successful with only one strong piece. The sad reality is the Ducks are going to have to rely on more ice-time from the likes of Kevin Bieksa and Clayton Stoner. This sentence alone should give Ducks’ fan the chills knowing that both of these guys tend to forget how to play hockey on a regular basis.
The Ducks have recalled Shea Theodore from the San Diego Gulls to take the place of Fowler on the roster. Theodore recorded four goals and twelve assists in 27 games with the Gulls this season. He is viewed as a strong quarterback of the power play and has acquired three of his goals with a man advantage this season. There is a very good chance that Theodore makes his NHL debut at some point during the Ducks’ road-trip this week.
With a shortage of competent defensive talent, it is expected that general manager Bob Murray will be on the phones looking to see what is out there. With an important road trip coming up against three division rivals, any deal must be done with caution. Murray does not want to disrupt any sort of mojo that was created Sunday night after the Ducks victory with a reactionary deal that ends up causing more damage.
If Fowler is going to be out for a long period of time, Anaheim is going to need to make improvements to its blue-line if it wants to pull itself out of the Pacific Division’s basement. Murray just cannot bite on the first appealing deal that comes his way. He has been a part of too many questionable deals recently and could put his own position in danger if he trades away a key piece for something of lesser value just because he felt pressured to do so.
One thing is for certain, Fowler is going to be missed on this hockey team no matter how long he is out for. One can only hope that his injury is not that serious and his recovery is speedy.
John Gove is an elementary school educator who writes about hockey in his spare team. Over the past five years, John has covered the game at various levels. Now, he exclusively focuses his coverage on prospects and the developmental leagues.